JNT Dialogue 2017: "Temporalities of Crisis and Condition"

March 16, 2017
Student Center Auditorium
Eastern Michigan University
6:30 pm
Reception to follow

Featuring and Lisa Lowe and Mimi Thi Nguyen

"Time-Making and The Refusal of Time"
Normative time standardizes imperatives of capitalism, government, and modernity.  It prescribes proper development of the “life narrative,” as well as that of society and civilizations; and it organizes dominant conceptions of mastery, freedom, justice, and “the political.”  This paper defamiliarizes the construct of modern linear time in some of its key forms.  We will explore the politics of time-making, timeliness, and time refusal, by way of a discussion of William Kentridge’s installation piece, “The Refusal of Time.”  En route, we will investigate multiple temporalities, varieties of scale, simultaneity, unsynchronicity, and the reinvention of time.

Lisa Lowe is Distinguished Professor of English and Humanities, a member of the Consortium of Studies on Race, Colonialism and Diaspora, and the Director of the Center for the Humanities at Tufts University. She has authored and co-edited books on immigration, colonialism, and globalization, such as Critical Terrains: French and British Orientalisms (Cornell UP, 1991), Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics (Duke UP 1996), and The Politics of Culture in the Shadow of Capital, with David Lloyd (Duke UP 1997). Her most recent book, The Intimacies of Four Continents (Duke UP 2015), is a study of settler colonialism, transatlantic African slavery, and the East Indies and China trades in goods and people as the conditions for modern European liberalism and empire.

"Beauty in Crisis"
Determinations of the “beautiful life” are comparative, imparting a diagnosis of the values under which beauty flourishes or, worse, achingly endures.  The promise of beauty in times of danger and disaster is not passive, but active; not a property observed, but a particular consciousness of how to make change.  It is both a commitment to the future, to something to come, and to the past, to that which induces the expectation of something else.  We will explore what is at stake in narratives of beauty: assumptions about how “life” and “humanity” should unfold, how to subject them to critique, and possibly how to repair, preserve, and redeem them. 

Mimi Thi Nguyen is Associate Professor of Gender and Women's Studies and Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her first book is The Gift of Freedom: War, Debt, and Other Refugee Passages (Duke University Press, 2012; Outstanding Book Award in Cultural Studies from the Association of Asian American Studies, 2014). Her following project is called The Promise of Beauty. She has also published in Signs, Camera Obscura, Women & Performance, positions, and Radical History Review. Nguyen is a Conrad Humanities Scholar for 2013-2018, a designation supporting the work of outstanding associate professors in the humanities within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois.

The Dialogue reading group will meet on March 6, 2017 from 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm at Halle 217. Light refreshments provided. Click here for selected readings.


Previous JNT Dialogue events include:

2016 - Homi K. Bhabha and Claudia Rankine

2015 - "After Post-Structuralism?" with speakers Nancy Armstrong and Jonathon Elmer

2014 - "Thinking Bodies" with speakers Laura Otis and Jay Clayton.

2013 --"The Queer Commons" with speakers José Esteban Muñoz and Samuel Ray Delany, Jr.

2012 -"Nonhumans: Ecology, Ethics, Objects" with speakers Jeffrey J. Cohen and Timothy Morton

2011 - "Failing to be Subjects: On Queerness and Negativity" with speakers Lauren Berlant and Jack Judith Halberstam

2010 - "Globalization Now: Flows and Limits" with speakers Crystal Bartolovich and Paul Smith